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News & Notes

Current Issue: November - December 2010   |    Previous Issues    |   Submit a Tidbit


Benchmarks: People & Jobs

  • WAML member Kathy Stroud has moved from UC-Davis to become the Map Librarian at the University of Oregon. Congratulations, Kathy, and we will miss you as part of the UC/Stanford map group.

New Maps of the WAML Region

Publications about Mapping

Other Map Organization Journals

  • GSIS: Newsletter (posted 6 months after publication)
  • NACIS: Cartographic Perspectives (note: In 2011, this will become a primarily digital, open access journal. Right now all issues are available online except the current issue).
  • CUAC : Cartographic Users Advisory Council
  • ANZMaps: The Australian and New Zealand Map Society Newsletter
  News | Conferences | Cataloging | Canadiana | New Maps & Web Sites



  • Plans are being made for WAML's next meeting in Vancouver, BC, May 18-21. The meeting's website is live and includes details on registration and housing. Please register by April 22nd (online registration should be available soon). Housing includes affordable options at an on campus facility. This would be a good time to remind everyone that if you do not have a passport or it has lapsed like mine, you will need one (or a passport card) to travel to and from Canada. See the Department of State's passport page for more information.

    If you would like to present a talk at Vancouver please contact Tim Ross by February 15, 2011. If you would like to present at the fall meeting in Oakland, please contact either myself or Cynthia Moriconi.

  • WAML is in the process of combining its Scanning Projects Clearinghouse with a similar MAGERT database, currently at the University of Arizona (so we'll still be in the West). An announcement will be forthcoming when the work is completed.

  • Please note the contributions this time from our correspondents-at-large: Paige Andrew's cataloging report reveals a lot is happening in the cataloging world! Some notes from up north by our WAML meeting host, Tim Ross. Also, see Russell Guy's take on the current state of map publishing.

  • Long-standing WAML member Barbara Haner passed away in November. Our condolences to her husband David and family. Being a newer member, I did not know Barbara well, but recall having very friendly chats with her at a couple of recent WAML meetings.

Other News

  • Taking advantage of software recently developed by Klokan Technologies, the National Library of Scotland has just made available several hundred early maps of Scotland in a pilot Map Georeferencer application. The application allows anyone to georeference various historical maps online, including county maps, town plans, coastal charts and estate maps, and then view them as an overlay in Google Earth or using the Google Earth browser plugin. We've tried to make the georeferencing quick and fun, and users can also: compare historic maps directly with present day satellite images; share, use and georeference the maps in more detail; view the maps alongside other georeferenced historical maps of the same area; and help improve search methods to find them in future.

  • Recent additions at DavidRumsey.com (November 27): Below are descriptions of 1,786 new maps and images recently added to the David Rumsey Collection. Included for the first time are six new BookReaders that enable page turning books in the Luna software; four of these are new atlases: Popple's 1746 Atlas of North America; Pertermann and Milners's 1850 Atlas of Physical Geography; Williamson's 1870 Removal of Blossom Rock in San Francisco Harbor; and Baker's 1936 Atlas of American Agriculture. Also, two important boundary dispute atlases, the three volume Alaskan Boundary Tribunal of 1904 and the Venezuela-British Guiana Boundary Commission atlas of 1897. And two important Soviet era world atlases, the Polish Army Topographic Survey World Atlas of 1968 and the USSR World Atlas second edition also of 1967. The Coal Resources of the World, 1913, is presented, along with Mathew Carey's 1818 General Atlas and Anthony Finley's first edition General Atlas of 1824. 35 irrigation maps of the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, from 1880-1888 are shown. Also, the Geological Survey of California's 1873 Map Of The Region Adjacent To The Bay Of San Francisco, 22 important wall maps, many sheet, case, and pocket maps, and more. All titles may be found by clicking on the View links or images hereOr click here to view all 1,786 new maps and images.

  • Some interesting maps can be found here as part of the U.S. Census Bureau Releases First Set of 5-Year American Community Survey Estimates. The U.S. Census Bureau today released 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) estimates for the first time, making available social, economic, housing and demographic statistics for every community in the nation. Up until now, small geographic areas had to rely on outdated 2000 Census figures for detailed information about the characteristics of their communities. Consisting of about 11.1 billion individual estimates and covering more than 670,000 distinct geographies, the 5-year ACS estimates give even the smallest communities more timely information on topics ranging from commute times to languages spoken at home to housing values.... See also: New York Times article, Immigrants Make Paths to Suburbia, Not Cities, and their awesome interactive website, Mapping America: Every City, Every Block.

  • The recent floods in Australia (see: Brisbane floods: before and after) ironically coincides with the release of a series of static sea level rise maps have been developed to highlight areas of Australia’s coast which are vulnerable to a low, medium and high sea level rise scenarios. The maps are available online via the OzCoasts website.

  • Google Maps have released more Bird's Eye imagery in a number of US cities, including several cities in California.

  • 1839 world atlas offers a trip back in time (Modesto Bee) All copies of this free offer have been claimed, but the atlas can be viewed at David Rumsey's site.

  • Cunning, Care and Sheer Luck Save Rare Map (New York Times): the fourth known copy of Bernard Ratzer's “Plan of the City of New York” from 1770 is found among holdings at a Brooklyn Historical Society storage facility. For a closer view: A 240-Year Old Map Is Reborn.

  • In case you missed it on MAPS-L, the International Travel Maps & Maps (ITMB) newsletter is a good source for current map industry news. Several publishers/distributors are consolidating or closing down completely. Expanded information from WAML member Russell Guy:

    On the Langenscheidt closing, they sold their US inventory and cartographic databases of ADC/Hagstrom/American Map/Arrow, etc. to Universal Maps for $3 million. They did not sell their Insight Guides and Insight Maps lines, nor any of the European map lines nor any of the dictionary lines. Insight Guides and maps will continue to be available in the US through Ingram and others such as myself.  Langenscheidt used the $3 million to pay off their debts in the US at 52 cents per dollar owed. Universal has started reprinting and/or shipping titles in the Langenscheidt range, such as ADC maps and atlases, and Hagstrom maps. Most, but not all of the ADC line will continue to be available, as well as the big sellers from Mapsco and Hagstrom, etc.  As part of the Langenscheidt sale, the ADC Map Store on "I" Street in Wash. D.C. closed, as did the Hagstrom store up in NYC.

    Rand McNally continues to cut map titles from its listings.  It appears to me that RM is cutting nearly all of their Easyfinder laminated city maps as well as the bulk of their Streetfinder atlases.  Their Thomas Bros. atlases continue to be available.  Many of RM's city maps are being discontinued and replaced by "city atlases" that contain city center maps for anywhere from 10-25 cities in a pocket-sized atlas.  The latest Rand McNally product listing I received (12/15/10) lists 360 maps as being "available going forward" and 552 titles being "re-evaluated when current inventory runs out."  So far all re-evaluated titles have been declared discontinued/out of print, so I assume nearly all of those 552 will be gone once sold out.  Anyone that hasn't updated their RM holdings might consider doing so ASAP.  Latest out of print items included Manhattan street map, Knoxville Streetfinder atlas, etc.

    I assume you heard that Globe Corner Bookstore in Cambridge is for sale.

    When Mapsco was bought by Universal in March 2010, nearly all of the Mapsco retail stores were closed (Denver, Dallas, etc.), and as far as I know only the Ft. Worth store is still open.

    Cartographia in Hungary is down to 8 employees and is for sale for $4 million.

    Gabelli seems to have closed up - no reply from any of their US contact points, and no reply from the French office.

    Pocket Pilot has closed.

    Hema North American has closed and all inventory except for their US road atlas and their US maps have been shipped back to Australia and will be distributed from there.  Their US atlas and map inventory is now with us.

    And finally, the AA is producing a nice road map series for the UK that is a good replacement for the OS Landranger series.  Four of the nine sheets are now available and the other five are due by the end of April.

Future WAML Meetings:

  • Vancouver, British Columbia, May 17-20, 2011
  • Oakland, California, October 13-16, 2011 (with WHA)
  • Hawaii, November 2012
  • WAML Meetings Web Page

Conferences, Classes & Exhibitions

    Items of interest from Cartography Calendars:

  • February 1, 2011 - Stanford, California
    Chet Van Duzer will give a talk titled Exploring Renaissance Geography on Johann Schöner’s Globe of 1515 in the Information Center Instruction Room in the Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford University, from 5:30-6:30 pm, in conjunction with the release of his book “Johann Schöner’s Globe of 1515: Transcription and Study” (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2010).

  • February 9, 2011 - Los Angeles 
    Changing Boundaries: Historic Maps of the U.S.-Mexico Border
     is a group of original maps dating from as early as 1600 from the Collection of Simon Burrow on display on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building, California State University. A panel discussion of the border will include presentations by Simon Burrow and Enrique Ochoa. The panel will be held in the Golden Eagle Conference Center. It will be followed by a wine and cheese reception in the exhibit space. The discussion starts at 6:30 pm.

  • January 29, 2011 - February 26, 2011 - Los Angeles
    Changing Boundaries: Historic Maps of the U.S.-Mexico Border is a group of original maps dating from as early as 1600 from the Collection of Simon Burrow. Maps tell stories. The Latin American Studies Program and Cross Cultural Centers of California State University bring you this enlightening exhibit of historic maps. The maps examine the evolution of the US-Mexico border over the last four centuries. The exhibit answers questions about the Battle of Los Angeles, California's mistaken geography as an island and current immigration policy. The exhibit is in the first floor of the Fine Arts Building. and is open Monday to Thursday and Saturday noon to 5 pm.

  • March 8, 2011- Denver
    The Rocky Mountain Map Society will meet at 5:30 PM in the Gates Room (5th floor) of the Denver Public Library. Christopher Lane will speak about How Maps Are Made: The Creation of Printed Maps from the 15th through the 19th Century. Chris Lane is the proprietor of the Philadelphia Print Shop West in Denver. He will discuss the five main map making processes: woodcuts, wood engraving, wax engraving, copper (steel) engraving, and lithography, ranging over five centuries from the late fifteenth to the end of the nineteenth century. He will also consider the history, advantages, disadvantages and idiosyncrasies of each process in some detail.

  • June 2010 - March 2011 - San Diego
    Mapping the Pacific Coast: Coronado to Lewis and Clark. The Quivira Collection is a world class exhibition showcasing 45 magnificent maps, books and illustrations, dated 1544 through 1802, of the west coast of North America. It invites viewers on a voyage of exploration from the first tentative probing by European explorers through Thomas Jefferson’s commission of the Corps of Discovery. The 29 maps, 11 illustrations and 5 books that comprise the collection have been on tour in museums throughout the country, and have been viewed by thousands of people of all ages. It can now be seen at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 North Harbor Drive.

  • April 12-16, 2011 – Seattle
    The American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting will take place at the Washington State Convention Center and the Seattle Sheraton Hotel.

  • October 1, 2010 – October 16, 2011 – Littleton, Colorado
    Pivotal Points: The Exploration and Mapping of the Trans-Mississippi West can be seen at the Littleton Museum, 6028 S. Gallup Street. What are the Pivotal Points in the exploration and mapping of the West that helped to illustrate the continent? Through maps and reports primarily drawn from the Littleton Museum collection, this exhibition depicts some of those Pivotal Points, placing them within the context of contemporary thought and identifying them on the timeline of American history.

  • And especially if you are attending ALA Annual this summer:
    May 10, 2011 - July 10, 2011 - New Orleans
    El Archivo General de Indias (the General Archive of the Indies) in Seville, Spain has has loaned nearly 140 documents spanning Ponce de León’s first contact in Florida through New Mexico’s incorporation as a U.S. Territory for the exhibit El Hilo de la Memoria, España y los Estados Unidos [The Threads of Memory, Spain & the United States]. The exhibit, at the Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal Street, includes rare documents, illustrations and maps detailing Spain’s early presence in North America.

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Cataloging News

  • The Cataloging Report this time is based on my recently attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, which was a good conference overall (would have liked for it to have been ten degrees warmer though).

    Resource Description and Access (RDA)

    There was a noticeable difference in general attitudes about RDA in conversations overheard or undertaken at this conference. The attitude seems to have shifted from general negativity and non-acceptance to generally positive and a "getting ready for it" stance. Which made for good questions asked at the three or four RDA programs I attended as opposed to a combination of questions and gripes heard at recent ALA meetings. There was no earth-shattering news regarding RDA, only information being shared, and a few specific things that were either new to me or clarified for me: (1) the decision to accept or reject RDA by the three U.S. national libraries facing this task is not going to be a simple "yes" or "no" decision but rather it also includes the possibility of accepting RDA with one or more provisions such as some level of improvement to the RDA Toolkit or perhaps a wait to begin implementation until vendors' systems are more capable of handling the changes involved; (2) the timing of the decision process is now clear to me, a lot of folks had understood that the "final decision" was to happen in March or April at the latest, which is not true, rather the outcomes of the testing phase recently concluded will be reported to the managers of LC, NAL, and NLM with recommendations, no later than March 31st, and a final decision is forthcoming at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans; (3) some format communities are now gearing up to do formal training, provide a set of RDA "best practices", or both. As an aside to this last item, Mary Larsgaard and I are currently working on a guidebook to cataloging cartographic materials using RDA with a deadline from ALA Editions of Nov. 15, 2011, so it should be available either very late in 2011 or early in 2012 for map catalogers everywhere to use. We welcome suggestions!

    Cartographic Form/Genre Headings Update

    The other big topic being shared amongst map catalogers at Midwinter was updates to cartographic form/genre (f/g) headings. The Library of Congress implemented the practice of adding new f/g headings backed by authority records for them, and changing existing practices in the bibliographic record related to the use of $v subdivision headings in geographic and subject headings as of Sept. 1, 2010. Since then a few new and important f/g headings have been added to the authority files (e.g., Geological maps) and there has even been some recent decisions on LC's part to "reverse" or change a couple of things such as merging the two separate headings for globes, celestial and terrestrial, into one f/g heading of "Globes" and looking to do something similar between "Cadastral maps" and "Plat maps". An unofficial list of headings maintained by Joel Hahn can be found here: http://www.hahnlibrary.net/libraries/formgenre-categorized.html#maps or you can use official headings through Classification Web by chosing the "Genre/Form Headings" link at the main menu. Naturally, if you don't want to use a list of some sort, you can also search the authority files in OCLC's Connexion by a specific heading to see if it has been established as a form/genre heading, these are tagged as 155 headings instead of 151 headings.

    More importantly, Janis Young, Policy and Standards Division of LC and Coordinator of the LC Genre/Form Project, announced that in the coming weeks she will be sharing for comments an "instruction sheet" (a kind of FAQ document) related to cartographic form/genre headings, their use, decisions about specific cases of use (one of those hopefully will be whether or not to simultaneously use "World maps" as a 650 heading and Globes in the 655), etc. She will share this through channels such as MAPS-L and ask for feedback before finalizing for all of us to use.

    Finally, if you're wondering why a particular "pet form/genre heading" isn't on the authorized list of these, now you have a chance to add it! The Library of Congress, through the SACO Program, is now accepting newly proposed cartographic f/g headings, just go to the following website: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/pcc/genre/genreform.html and start typing.

    New Form/Genre Thesaurus

    Be on the lookout for a new thesaurus coming out of the Library of Congress! It is titled the Library of Congress Genre/Form Thesaurus (LCGFT) and is due out sometime after March 2011. Once it is in place the method of coding the 655 field for Form/Genre headings (see above) will change from simply supplying a second Indicator value of "0" to indicate that the heading is from the LC Subject Headings thesaurus to supplying a second Indicator value of "7" plus a $2 subdivision following the heading with the code "lcgft".

    LC Geography & Map Division

    Cataloging Team Leader Min Zhang provided the LC G&M Report at the MAGERT Cataloging & Classification Committee meeting with several details about the work going on in Washington, D.C. Of note, there will be two retirements in 2011 of long-time map catalogers there, and it is not known at this time whether one or both of those positions will be filled. It seems that our colleagues at LC G&M are also "doing more with less" just as we all are and it continues the trend that I've noticed in recent years of LC looking to all of the rest of us to shoulder more of the cataloging work needing to be done. Look for many more details about the Division in the next issue of MAGERT's newsletter, baseline, due out in February.
    "Will RDA Mean the Death of MARC?"

    I attended a presentation at Midwinter with this title. The question, in one form or another, has been floating around amongst catalogers for at least a couple of years and the three presenters shared their opinions as cataloging experts in the field. The general consensus amongst all three was "yes, but not right away" and the reason why is that MARC, as a content standard, is no longer able to support tasks that are beyond the description of items held in a given catalog. So, the BIG question remains, what then will replace MARC in the future? Nobody seems to know at this point, but it will have to be more robust and capable of working within the Internet as well as across a variety of other metadata formats. Presenters included Christopher Cronin, Director of Metadata and Cataloging Services, University of Chicago; Jacquie Samples, Continuing and Electronic Resources Librarian, North Carolina State University; and Kelley McGrath, Metadata Management Librarian, University of Oregon.

    OCLC Report

    Some tidbits from OCLC, provided by Jay Weitz: (1) OCLC and LC's Program for Cooperative Cataloging are considering allowing folks who have Enhance status and are NACO members to edit BIBCO records; (2) Connexion Client 2.3.0 will be launched in March/April 2011 and include all changes to MARC21 based on MARC21 Update #12 that will be implemented this Spring; (3) OCLC is looking at adding two new search indexes in Connexion, one for "Date Entered" and the other for "Provenance"; and (4) in 2010 OCLC merged over 7 million duplicate records from two different processes. 

    Paige Andrew, Pennsylvania State University

Canadian News

  • Over the past few months the Canadian federal Dept. of Natural Resources has released over 300 new and updated topographic maps in both digital and paper formats. Systematic completion of far northern areas at the 1:50,000 scale continues. A number of new vector and raster topographic datasets have also recently been made available, including roads and trails data for the Vancouver, BC area. http://www.geogratis.ca

    Statistics Canada is another Canadian federal government agency which produces useful datasets and interesting cartographic materials which can be employed for student assignments.  Info at  http://www.statcan.gc.ca/mgeo/interactive-eng.htm

    The city of Calgary, Alberta, recently joined a growing list of Canadian cities making information, particularly geospatial data, openly available through public data sites such as this: http://calgaryonlinestore.com/publicdata.asp

    WAML’s sister organization, ACMLA, is making various changes to its website, including several helpful new features on its Useful Tools page. Info at:  http://www.acmla.org/tools.html

    Tim Ross, University of British Columbia

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